As of early 2006, there were more than 2000 permanent disc golf courses installed around the world, although the vast majority of them are in the United States.

As in "ball golf," a typical course will have 18 holes, but each hole averages between 250 and 450 feet rather than yards. Many smaller courses have only 9 holes, while an increasing number of courses offer an additional 9 holes to make 27 available holes to the disc golfer. Many disc golf courses are in open, grassy public parks, but more challenging courses are set in semi-wooded and hilly areas, some quite rough and natural. One good example of a classic long course with wooded hills is De Laveaga Disc Golf Course in Santa Cruz, California, USA.

The target in disc golf is usually a metal basket that is mounted horizontally about three feet in the air, and attached to a pole that is around 5 feet tall. To better allow discs to come to rest in this basket, chains are suspended from another circular section near the top of the pole and allowed to hang limply to a point where they are connected to the pole in or near the receiving basket. The standard disc golf target has 12-24 chains suspended inside it.

Another common target is the 'Tone Hole.' This is generally a metal pipe, approximately 8" to 10" in diameter, mounted on a sturdy wooden post. Hitting the target is confirmed by the sound of the disc contacting the pipe. 'Natural' holes, being pre-existing natural or man-made features, are occasionally used as well.

Disc golf is unique in that PDGA and WFDF rules, based in player conservation efforts as well as fair play, make it a violation to cause damage to the course's flora. Fauna are not similarly protected, however. With most courses not requiring greens fees, the relative low cost of discs, and tournament fees still fairly low, the disc golf social structure may be among the most egalitarian and relaxed in organized sports.